When organizers say Bodhi Tree’s upcoming 10th anniversary concert will have something for everyone, they’re not kidding.
September 25 concert at St. James by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in La Jolla will feature Pulitzer Prize-winning pianist, opera contralto, “The Royalty of Latin Jazz,” choir representatives Martin Luther King Jr. San Diego community, an accordionist, a mother-daughter flamenco dance team, a ‘Sweeney Todd’ stage, French cabaret and a cake (to name a few).
“It will be an eclectic and joyful program with many of these artists performing live for the first time since the pandemic,” said Walter DuMelle, co-founder of Bodhi Tree Concerts.
Assuming things “don’t get worse” with the highly contagious Delta variant of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the plan is to have the concert in person. However, there is a backup plan for a live broadcast in case that cannot happen.
The event is meant to be “a concert and a celebration and a party and a fundraiser,” DuMelle said.
From the beginning, Bodhi Tree Concerts has been on a mission to support local artists and partner with non-profit organizations to give them an exhibition platform and financially support them with the proceeds from the tickets. About two dozen local artists who have performed with Bodhi Tree over the years will be on hand to celebrate the 10th anniversary.
For the first time, Bodhi Tree Concerts will be the primary nonprofit beneficiary. Ticket revenues and other revenues will fund its arts education programming and future concerts. Proceeds from selected raffle items will be used to complete Bodhi Tree’s commission for a children’s opera with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Anthony Davis to be called “Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote”. Much of the commission was covered by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The concert will also serve as a food drive for Feeding San Diego, which has benefited from it all season long as Bodhi Tree Concerts aired their performances online.
“This will be the first time that we can get them to talk to our audience and organize a food drive,” said co-founder Diana DuMelle. “Anyone who purchases a ticket is encouraged to bring food to donate, and those who do will receive a free raffle ticket. “
Pianist Alison Luedecke, who performed at Bodhi Tree’s debut concert, is on the 10th anniversary show.
“At first I remember getting involved because I liked the opportunity for musicians and having performances for people who appreciated good live music, but it had the charity aspect of helping different organizations. community, ”Luedecke said.
These first performances were a “wonderful experience”, she said, adding that she looks forward to the anniversary concert to “celebrate all that Walter and Diana have done”.
Luedecke, starting from his typical Baroque style of music, will perform pieces by Edward Elgar for violin and piano from the Romantic period.
Reflecting on the past 10 years of organizing concerts, Diana DuMelle said the idea came from “the hope of making a difference as two ordinary, non-wealthy people in the community.”
They knew the music, “so we started out as a little way to help other local artists and give back,” she said. “It’s upsetting to me because we’ve been in quarantine for almost two years, but we’ve found ways and our artists have found ways to keep presenting and creating, which is really inspiring. It gives me a little bit of hope when I don’t always feel a lot of hope. It proved to me that anyone can make a difference, little by little, concert by concert.
Walter DuMelle, who also attended the concerts, said it was “very gratifying to witness that all of these very talented people were a part of what we put together. Then the Bodhi Tree Concerts family is growing because that we can see them in other places … and we have that richer sense of sharing. For me, that has been an expansion of our musical world and the music community in San Diego. “
While none of the DuMelles could identify a highlight of the past decade, Diana said the Music en la Calle festival that Bodhi Tree Concerts presents in City Heights “is really special to me” because it’s a day. full of music meant to represent the diverse community in which it is held.
“City Heights has 70 countries represented, and every year we add more representation to that,” she said. “This year we got to do it live, and seeing all the kids and families come out was extremely special.”
Pianist George Winston, whom she considers an inspiration for the Bodhi Tree Concerts format, has performed with the organization over the years. “He gives back wherever he goes. He loves to tour and… he donates all profits from CD sales and merchandise to the local food bank wherever he is, ”said Diana. “He is an inspiration and a revelation. So having it was great.
Walter said “there are so many musical moments that have been highlights,” but he’s especially proud to have many premieres in San Diego.
“We don’t necessarily strive for that, as some are established repertoire pieces, but they just haven’t played in San Diego before,” he said. “It allows us to bring a new level of musical creation to San Diego audiences, something they’ve never heard before.”
While the anniversary concert will be held at St. James by-the-Sea, others have taken place at the Cuvier Club, the La Jolla Community Center and venues outside of La Jolla.
Bodhi Tree Concerts 10th Anniversary Show
When: Saturday 25 Sep .; 6 p.m. social hour and viewing of the raffle and 7 p.m. concert. Reception to follow.
Or: St. James by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, 743 Prospect Street, La Jolla
COVID-19 Requirements: Proof of vaccination or negative coronavirus test; wearing a mask inside
Cost: $ 25
Information: bodhitreeconcerts.org ??